Above: Achilles New Zealand, led by the indomitable Peter Loft, heading to a fantastic finish at the 2015 TCS NYC Marathon

Achilles Heel
December - January 2016
On November 18th, I hit the 75-year mark. How does one prepare? As a runner for over 40 years, it was easy. First, the Detroit Marathon in mid-October; then the New York City Marathon on November 1st and most recently, the Havana Marathon on November 15th, just three days before my birthday. It was an honor to be one of the oldest finishers with a respectable time. However, my self-esteem came crashing down as I returned home to the U.S. and went through customs.

The question was: "Where were you?" Answer: "Cuba"

Q: "What were you doing there? A: "The Havana Marathon."

The customs officer looked me up and down and with a smile said: "Let's be serious!"

Havana was very special for me. My parents honeymooned there over Thanksgiving 77 years earlier. I have seen Havana through the glow of past times as I watched my parents' 8 mm movies of the occasion. Not a lot has changed. Havana looks like Miami Beach in the early 1950s with very little maintenance since. It was like being in a time warp with wonderful colors and styles. Some of the houses could easily fetch $20 - $50 million under different circumstances.

Food was really good and some of the fruits were the best I have ever tasted - fresh, full of aroma and plentiful. The cars and taxis were typically 1950s American autos - lots of Chevys and Buicks. The exteriors looked fine but in need of a tune-up.

The people we met were happy and liked Americans. They welcomed us with open arms. Alejandro Ricard, our Havana Chapter President, and our team, which consisted of eight athletes and guides, competed in a 10K, Half Marathon and the Full Marathon. The majority of our new Team were amputees who completed the race on crutches.

I am very proud of our new Cuban Chapter. We are one of the first charities from the U.S. to set up an official program for people with disabilities in Cuba. This is significant in as much as members commented that many people with disabilities are inactive. It's interesting because this is how things were in the U.S. when Achilles began. We hope to be part of positive changes in the coming years. We are off to a terrific start and met with the Minister of Disabilities to discuss ways in which we can best serve the disabled population in Cuba. We also invited two of our Cuban members to join us next June for Hope & PossibilityŽ and the 2016 New York City Marathon. What a way to celebrate my first 75 years!

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Holiday season. See you in the New Year!



If we had a dollar for every Achilles athlete who has crossed a finish line, we could make a lot of marathon dreams come true.

Today, #GivingTuesday, continues to grow into the trendiest American giving day of the year. This year, give to Achilles International and show our athletes what it really means to be able. Going strong into 2016, your donations will help us support more athletes reach their goal!

Give in honor of a loved one! Donate $100 or more and your honoree will receive a special Achilles thank you gift. Email Sarah with shipping information and inquiries.

Above: Achilles International at the Havana Marathon


Achilles president Dick Traum competed in the 2015 Havana Marathon on Sunday, November 15th with members of our new Chapter in Cuba. Joining Dick were Achilles board member, Chloe Malle, running as a guide for visually impaired runner Israel; long-time Achilles volunteer and guide, Rob Russo, running as guide for an amputee runner Alexander; and Achilles director of international chapters, Gerle Shagdar. We are very excited to expand Achilles remarkable running program to Cuba and we are also very pleased to learn that members of Associacion Cubana de Limitados Fisico-Motores -- the association that represents people with disabilities in Cuba -- is interested in working with us.

If you are interested in supporting two disabled athletes from Cuba who want to participate in the New York City Marathon 2016 please contact Gerle.

E. 83rd Street - Studio B
(@ Third Ave)
Ride Begins at 2:30 PM
(Please arrive between 2 - 2:15)

The 45 minute cardio party will be led by Soulcycle Instructor and lululemon Ambassador Mireya D'Angelo

You pick your bike: $90 We pick your bike: $65
Can't make it to the ride?
Buy a pair of sneakers for an Achilles Kid instead! $30 and up

100% of your contribution will benefit Achilles International


Achilles Nashville participated in the 22nd annual Thanksgiving Boulevard Bolt. The Bolt has over 8,500 participants and ranks among the largest 5-mile races in the country.

This race benefits the homeless community and is a favorite of Nashville with competitive runners racing with families and friends. Achilles Nashville had several athletes and guides out for the celebration: two handcyclists, a wheelchair racer, 2 blind athletes, an athlete on a walker (and in a onesie...pjs, that is!) along with approximately 12 guides. Runners are welcome to dress up in costume -- it is not uncommon to see turkeys running, Pilgrims, Indians...there are Santa sightings and plenty of reindeer and elves!

The crowd support is great with many homes along the boulevard set up with tents, brunches, and even a bouncy house complete with a wrecking ball swing! In addition to the fun on the course, there was a hot breakfast complete with quiche, muffins, coffee, and hot cider. A grand time was had by all!


Herb Pinder has been a volunteer since 2014. Since then, he has quickly become involved in all aspects of Achilles - workouts, social events and fundraising. Thank you, Herb!
"It's easily been the most joy I've ever had running. The shared purpose, the camaraderie, the friendships - they're on vivid display in each workout and each race. But the connections don't end there. You see guides and athletes supporting each other's community projects, creative endeavors and other ventures. It's great to see. I always tell people, it isn't just about running."- Herb Pinder
To read more about Herb, please click here.

To nominate someone as Volunteer of the Month, please email Fiona.

Chapter Happenings &
Upcoming Events

December 5th Achilles Third Annual Reindeer Romp 4M starting at 10 AM at Achilles regular workout on 90th Street & Fifth Avenue.

December 9th: Jack Rabbit hosts Achilles NYC's Third Annual Running Shoe Event
CONGRATULATIONS to Rosalie Ames (NYC Chapter Handcyclist) who was "the most senior female finisher" at this year's NYC Marathon and will be awarded the Gwendolyn Clark Award later this month. We are all so proud of you, Rosalie! Well done!!!
Interested in the 2016 NYC Half or NYC Tri? Forgo the lottery and commit yourself to supporting Achilles! Not only will you get to races alongside our athletes in both of these races, but you will also receive all the help you'll need to make your fundraising a success!

Contact Sarah for more details.



Photo credits: many of our photos are courtesy of the great, talented, always helpful and very dedicated, Larry Sillen. Thank you, Larry!